Orchids

In woods near South Brent last weekend, we saw five specimens of the rare greater butterfly orchid. Many thanks are due to the man walking dogs who offered to show us the first one. There was also a specimen of rather late early purple orchid. Beaked hawksbeard Common sorrel Marsh thistles

Leigh Lane and Lud brook

New oak and hazel leaves, holly and blackthorn flowers, and the last few catkins overhead in Leigh Lane. Under foot, bluebells, three speedwells, two violets, and three umbellifers. Yellow dandelions, lesser celandines, and creeping buttercups in Leigh Lane, and gorse and tormentil on the moor. Also in Leigh Lane, pink purslane, herb robert, and campions and white wood…

White Oxen and Zempson

Lots of crosswort in the damp meadows at White Oxen and hedgerows around Zempson. The first early purple orchids are flowering, and the first ragged robin, bugle, buttercups, and yellow pimpernel. Also in flower were lady’s smock, bog stitchwort, cornsalad, primroses, common dog violets, sticky mouse-ear, wavy bittercress, thale cress, daisies, germander speedwell, red dead-nettle and red campions….

April sunshine

The burst of sunshine over the weekend has brought out some new flowers along Bittaford Road, including the first delicate lady’s smock. There was a clump of greater chickweed. It was hard to do it justice with my phone camera but you can see the 10 stamens – each purple blob is a pair – that distinguish it…

White violets

All along the southern verge of Bittaford Road, from Bittaford to the station, there are big clumps of sweet violets. All are white rather than purple. There is also a cowslip. At White Oxen, some purple violets (common dog violets), red dead-nettle, and carpets of golden saxifrage and barren strawberries. Also two fallow deer and a…

mid-May sunshine

Greater celandine has appeared this month, a relative of the Welsh poppy and not of lesser celandine. It is named after the Greek ‘chelidon’ or swallow, as it flowers when the swallows arrive. The bright orange sap is said to cure warts and for this reason, greater celandine was often planted around the walls and gateways of houses, where indeed it is still…

Last day of April

I spent some time wondering what this was and ended up going back to have another look, book and lens in hand. It is greater chickweed, with downward pointing buds and seed capsules, 8-10 stamens, and oval, opposite leaves. Common chickweed and lesser stitchwort have similar flowers but 8 or fewer stamens and long, narrow…

Easter

Ransoms are flowering, white stars bursting through their papery capsules, alongside the tiny blue flowers of ivy-leaved speedwell. In the hedge, there are the first flowers of blackthorn. Shining cranesbill and bluebell are prolific, with the first few flowers just showing today. Cranesbills (native geraniums) are named for their beak-like seed pods. Shining cranesbill is easily identified by…

Spring

Some welcome sunshine this week   From a car, Wrangaton Road is fast and litter-strewn, but the views are lovely and the open verges between Bittaford and Ivybridge station support a different variety of flowers from the shady lane between Moorhaven and Green Lane.   Alexanders is just coming into bloom. Also known as Roman parsley,…